September 28, 2012

FT-8800R Back On The Air

We finished reprogramming our FT-8800R dual band mobile radio tonight.  After installing it we turned it on, hit scan, and immediately found a local net to join in.  Programming software makes the job so much easier than manual entry via the radio controls and menus.  What a bother it would be to upload several hundred frequencies manually.

In this day and age of cheap and plentiful memory and internet enabled devices, it is fairly easy to image radios in the near future coming pre-programmed with software that automatically keeps them synched with all repeater information - anywhere in the world.  Why not?  Since we are dreaming a little.  How about unlimited text labelling for each memory.  6 characters simply doesn't cut it.  Why only 6?  Why not 66, or 266, or even unlimited?  The memory certainly wouldn't add much cost.

September 25, 2012

NJ2X.COM 1st Anniversary

Today is the 1st anniversary of our website NJ2X.COM.  It has been a year of learning for us and we enjoyed the experience a great deal.  Thank you to our regular readers for your support.  We hope you will help spread the word and share our link with others interested in amateur radio, ham radio, and shortwave radio related topics. 

Our free daily feature, "FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day" has been very enjoyable to write and we hope it has helped at least a few people to prepare for and earn their ticket.

We particularly enjoyed preparing cartoons for our "Ab Absurdo" amateur humor feature.  It was rather fun coming up with radio related absurdities and translating them into cartoons.  This surprisingly turned out to be a very relaxing and creative activity to engage in.  Hope we gave a few chuckles too.

In case you didn't notice the link on our home page, we offer the NJ2X Kindle Edition for those using the popular Kindle devices.

Looking forward to another year of writing articles for NJ2X.COM and helping others interested in amateur radio, ham radio, and shortwave radio.



September 23, 2012

Soldering PL-259 Connectors

One of the most common tasks around the shack is soldering PL-259 connectors onto coaxial cable.  Here is an excellent video explaining how to solder a PL-259 connector onto RG213 coaxial cable correctly and easily in under 6 minutes.

NJ2X tips:
  • Tin the center conductor if stranded - keeps the strand together
  • Test with a continuity tester to confirm continuity and no shorts
  • Avoid excessive heat which can deform the dielectric and change impedance and capacitance characteristics

September 22, 2012

Michael Faraday Birthday September 22, 1791

Michael Faraday was born on this day September 22, 1791.  Faraday researched and experimented with electricity. He eventually showed that a magnetic field could induce a current in a coil of wire, which became the basis for the generation of electricity.  His theory of electromagnetic induction eventually became "Faraday's Law".  He invented the earliest electrical motors (homopolar motor) which would prove to be one of the most important inventions in history.

Faraday experimented with sending electrical currents through chemicals, discovering that molecules could be separated into gases and defining principles for the laws of electrolysis.  Faraday was prolific and engaged with with the study of optics, magnetism, environmental science, education, light houses, and other interests.

The SI unit of capacitance, the farad, is named in his honour as is the Faraday Cage.

September 18, 2012

G4HFQ Software - Excellent Experience

We had a really great experience recently with G4HFQ Software.  We needed a little assistance with a program that we had purchased from Bob back in 2008 for programming our trusty FT-8800.  We sent an email and Bob responded almost immediately with just the right help.  Bob's software works very well and the service is tops.  Highly recommended.

September 17, 2012

225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution

Today we celebrate the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.  The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Have you read this inspired document lately?  Have your government representatives read it?

September 15, 2012

Considerations For A New Antenna - Part 1

Our shack was disassembled, packed up in boxes, and out-of-use for several months due to relocation.  We recently hit our tolerance threshold for being off-the-air and decided to take action and reassemble a station.

Nothing like a huge maple to hoist up the center of a fan-dipole.  Unfortunately, our new QTH doesn't have large trees to support our excellent Alpha-Delta antenna.  This has led us to spending some quality time reading our 21st Edition of the ARRL Antenna Book to gather up different ideas.

Our design criteria:
  • No tower
  • Multi-band (as many as possible)
  • Effective for DX'ing including all 50 States
  • Durable in a permanent all-weather installation (e.g. rain, wind, snow, ice, ...)
  • No trees suitable for hanging an antenna
  • Large hill rising to the North and falling to the South
  • Tall chimney on house
  • 150 feet of back yard

 In part 2 of this article series, we will select and install our first antenna in the new location.

September 7, 2012

David Packard (9DRV) - Birthday September 7, 1912

Today we remember David Packard (9DRV) on his birthday (born September 7, 1912, in Pueblo, Colorado). Packard was the co-founder and a longtime executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Company. Packard was a gifted electrical engineer.  He built his first radio while still in elementary school and earned his amateur radio ticket while in high school.

David Packard